Tropical storm hits Hawaii
Hawaii residents hunkered down as Tropical Storm Iselle whipped the island chain with winds and heavy rains.
Iselle’s top winds weakened to 60 mph as it made landfall at 2:30 a.m. today along the Kau coast of the Big Island.
Had the storm remained a hurricane, it would have been the first to hit Hawaii in decades.
Heavy rains were the biggest threat, with general rainfall predicted to be between four and eight inches, although some areas could get more than a foot.
Flash flood warnings cover much of the Big Island, while flash flood watches have been issued for the entire state.
Iselle has already delivered 11 inches of rain on the Big Island, according to Mike Cantin with the National Weather Service.
In a conference call, Cantin said the Big Island should expect more than a foot of rain.
Doug Mayne, of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, said heavy rains had prevented the agency from beginning to assess the impact of the storm.
Conditions made it unsafe to get helicopters in the air to access the hardest hit areas.
Hawaii Electric Light said in a tweet that nearly 22,000 customers were without power in various parts of the Big Island.
As the storm approached, supermarket shelves were swept bare, while schools and government offices closed. Sandbags were placed around homes and hotels, and ports told to close.
In Hawaii County, 630 people have gone to shelters, Mayor Billy Kenoi told CNN affiliate KHON-TV in Honolulu.